Posing, Composition and Natural Light

Lesson 3/7 - The Two Most Essential Poses


Posing, Composition and Natural Light


Lesson Info

The Two Most Essential Poses

Let's get to these poses, the feminine form, okay. And this is what I call the classic pose, a classic elegance. And this is probably the most popular pose in the world, Why? Because they've been using it for hundreds of years. If you go and look at sculptures, if you go to museums and look at paintings they are using this pose, they are riding it. This is the one pose that just works on almost on everybody single type. This works, use it, learn it, master it okay? And I'm gonna break it down to you, okay. Nose towards the like, what we've talked about. Body away, right. Is her body not pointing in the same way that her face is, is that not correct? And so now look at the shadow right under her bodice. So posing the female form is all about T and A, right? And so when I'm looking at a female, accentuate the T and the A and then we've got a good shot. So what you gotta do is the lighting that falls across her body is gonna put shadow under here so that's gonna accentuate the T, right? T...

he posing is to accentuate the A part while I pop the hip out and it's away from the camera. So let's say I'm at the camera and I'm popping my hip this way, look how far my thighs look. But if I pop it away, I'm very skinny at this point right? So you always put the hip, if you can, away from the camera. It creates short side shadow and you're defining the face. So if I'm using this lighting right here, right, And I'm turning this way, right, then you're gonna see shadow right here and that shadow defines the face and makes everybody look slimmer. Everybody wants to look 10 pounds lighter, right? That's why you do this, you're gonna do this technique and your clients are gonna go "Oh my gosh, "I've never looked so amazing. "You are the best photographer in the world!" I guarantee you why. Because not very many people have ever had a portrait of them with short side shadow. Learn how to do it, learn how to make people amazing. It's gonna feed your family. Okay, anybody here play golf? Okay, come on up. (crowd laughs) Putting you right on the spot. Okay, now I don't play golf but can you sample doing a drive? No promises on help. Okay. Do I go through? Yeah go through. Okay. See this fall like that, okay do it again. Go back, okay, that's kind of like a pose there, right. So if I had her, just relax your body, take your hands apart, put your knees together. Oh no. Keep that leg straight, that's the feeling of it. Put this hand her, look over her, right? That's basically the pose. Now go ahead and swing through. Swing through? Swing through, that's basically the pose too, right? Because see how she shifted her weight and it's there? So that's the feeling that you want to get. Thank you, give her a hand. (crowd applauds) And so it's basically that sweeping motion. If the light's here, I know my head's gonna end up in this position here, sweeping right? Bam, that's all it is. You have to have that feel. That's why your subjects who are athletic, they can pose really well. They're used to using their body mechanics and shifting their weight because that's what gets you the power and everything, power in serving, power in hitting, power in whatever is that weight shift. And so they're used to shifting their weight, and so if you do something where they're shifting their weight then that's the feeling of the pose, okay? So that's how you do that, a sweeping motion. So here, it is. A lot of times, nose towards the-- Right. And she's got all that weight and you can see all her weight is on one leg, and it's straight there. Here you really see it, right? Same thing. All the weight is on one leg, and then the other leg is bent, it's trailing in, okay? And you're just dragging it and trailing that leg in, and it's very elegant. Usually everybody looks amazing in this pose. When I first started out with wedding photography, I didn't really know a lot, I didn't have creative live, and so this is the only pose that I knew. And I rode this pose, I just changed it, I changed the emotion. I just rode this all the way until I started at $5,000 as a wedding photographer, I didn't know anything else, I just kept with this. And so this could be your Saving Grace, just master this pose, okay? Here it is again, elegant right? When you're thinking of elegance so you want a classic look for your portrait, you're gonna do this type of pose to it right? And it's just gonna feel very elegant and it just works. Here it is with just a little bit different variation. I mean you wouldn't think that they're the same pose but they are. Just like when I showed you the composition, here's the same formula. If you look at my images, you're gonna see the same pattern over and over and you're gonna "Oh my God, Scott only knows one pose "and he's supposed to be some master photographer." Yeah, really I keep it simple. I just change the form of it. Now a slight variation of that is what I call more of a modern pose. What do I mean by modern? This is when you tell a lady or anybody in general, give me a sexy pose, right? That's what they're gonna give you, that's what this pose it. And the difference between this pose, I mean the nose if towards the light, the body is away again, but what it is is that the head is towards the hip, right? So if you're shifting your hip out this way, if I point my head that way, it gives you that little bit of-- Or I had said give me something sassy (kisses). Right, you'd be doing that, whereas the other pose is it's not, it's longer where the hip is pointed this way and my head is the opposite direction, okay? Sexy is that, right. Whereas elegant is that. And so I basically kind of just go between those two poses and I work within that and I can show you some examples of this type of pose. See where the hip is pointing out and her head is towards that direction, right? The original sexy pose, and the key to this one is never shoot your subject straight on. So you gotta point them off to the side, point the hip out, head's turned this way, for something sexy you always gotta get this leg raisied. Why? Because that creates the A. 'Cause when you raise this leg, just have them raise this leg. First of all, it's gonna make them shift the weight to the other leg, and it's gonna create this V here and it's gonna accentuate this this part. That's what makes a woman look like a woman. Bam, that's it. Keep one leg straight, raise the leg, you're halfway there, nose towards the light. See how easy it is? Okay, so it's very, very easy. Now this particular pose I like to call the Yin Yang Boom. So let me show you the worst pose in the world. (crowd laughs) Okay, you'd never tell your subject to do that. Why is it bad? It's because it looks completely rigid and unbalanced. Doesn't it look like I'm gonna fall over this way? So how do we make this better? Well, if I pull this in and I balance it out with the weight this way, and I have this way here it's staring to look better. And so, this is the Yin and this is the Yang. You're wondering what the boom is. The leg. Yin, Yang, Boom. (crowd laughs) Very affective in posing okay? Just remember that, Yin, Yang, Boom. Alright, very easy to remember. So here again just a little bit of that sexy. She's looking towards me but you can see that has that hip and lifting leg, right? Knee is lifted, accentuate the hips. Here again she is popping her hip out, her head is towards that way, one leg is actually straight on there, I think she's keeping both legs straight, which is okay too sometimes. But at least one leg is straight. Here's another where she's got her hip popped out here, she's resting her leg higher, her head is towards that hip area there. And notice how I separate the arms. If you keep your hands on the same level, it goes stagnant because your eye goes with the hands and stays, right? So, if I do this, you're gonna look across my whole body because I have a hand here and a hand here. It forces you to look across the entire body whereas if I keep them at one level, then your eyes are gonna stay there. So you gotta get the flow through the image and that's why it worked, okay? Another important thing was when you're posing the hands, her head is towards the hip here, right? Look at the composition, billboard right? Depth. Edge of hand and wrist, watch this. If I pose and you see the flat of my wrist, it's almost the same size as my face. That is distracting, especially if you're having light hit on it, if the light hits on it and it's bright and then there's confusion. What do I look at first, the back of your hand or your face? If I turn it sideways, it's gonna be diminished. So always shoot the side of somebody's hand when you're posing because it won't take away from the face. That is the perfect hand position not everybody can do that. But she's been to like four of my workshops so she can pose perfectly. See the slight array with the hands and you hold it like that, that's very difficult to do believe it or not. But you gotta try to get your subjects for their hands to look like that, okay? And once you tell them and they're aware of it. So I'm teaching my subjects all the time and literally after the session they are like on it, they know everything. Now, the beautiful thing about this is I don't have to worry about the direction of light because I've got even light on her so I can have her pose and way and I've got myself a great shot. So, I'm wondering if I could have a little room here. Okay, so let's have you do that sweeping motion, whatever way you feel comfortable. Can you take your arms and just kind of sweep-- yeah, there you go. Oh man, she's perfect alright. So, turn your head and bring this arm back a little bit. Okay, now here it is, when I'm shooting wider and full length, I want more arms, more out, more everything, holding the dress out. But when I'm shooting tight, waist up, then I want posing that's more intimate, okay? So if you're shooting wide, you want something big. If you're shooting intimate, you want something more like that, okay? So, I'm gonna have her pose this way and I'm gonna see if I can shoot wide but I think I don't have enough real estate here to do it. So, why don't you put that hand up there, beautiful. Can you turn your body a little bit more, I mean you're super skinny already but I'm just showing the technique. You pop that out, so this is the key. Relax, go back to the other side. You say to your subjects, give me a little bit more. Because they're gonna pop their hip and it's gonna be like "Okay, I'll pop my hip," it'll be like that, you want like that. That's the incentive. Okay, perfect. There, there, bring this hand up maybe across this way. And I'm gonna shoot something waist up right here 'cause that's all the room I got. And look at me with your beautiful eyes, one, two, good. I know the screen is... Oops sorry, didn't prepare you. One, two, ready, good. Alright, now, let's do something more of that modern feel. So I just want you to pop your hip out, good. Turn your head this way, look back at me with your eyes. Maybe if you can do your hand the other-- yeah, there I like that, right there. Perfect. Turn your head this way and look back at me with you eyes, and then lean forward towards me and turn your head this way, right there look at me with your eyes, perfect right there. A little bit too much, come back, right there. One, two, three. Okay perfect. So those are the two different types of feeling of pose where you're gonna get one that's a little bit more modern feeling and one a little bit more elegant. Thank you very much Sarah.

Class Description

There is no excuse to not take an amazing photograph. Award-Winning photographer Scott Robert Lim in this exclusive course shows how composition, posing and light must work together to create WOW and impact. He'll also discuss how using film and vintage polaroids can enhance images using natural light. 


Leah Hinds

Love this course! It's a quick and fast paced run down on some basic poses that you can carry over into any situation. I love Scott Robert Lim, he is energetic, funny and doesn't mind a joke at his own expense. I love everything about him! I learn the most from him because I remember his own attempt at posing it or his jokes. I find it hard to remember stuff at the time during a shoot but this info will stick. Thanks so much, more please.


This class is amazing, I learned much more in the 90 minutes of this class, than I ever thought I would (as far as composition and simple posing). Scott is FANTASTIC!!! I love his knowledge and energy!!!

Scott Joy

Scott is awesome and incorporates passion, energy and fun into his teaching!